Cooperative Learning Methods: A Meta-Analysis
David W. Johnson, Roger T. Johnson, and Mary Beth Stanne
Cooperative learning is one of the most widespread and fruitful areas of theory, research, and practice in education. Reviews of the research, however, have focused either on the entire literature which includes research conducted in noneducational settings or have included only a partial set of studies that may or may not validly represent the whole literature. There has never been a comprehensive review of the research on the effectiveness in increasing achievement of the methods of cooperative learning used in schools. An extensive search found 164 studies investigating eight cooperative learning methods. The studies yielded 194 independent effect sizes representing academic achievement. All eight cooperative learning methods had a significant positive impact on student achievement. When the impact of cooperative learning was compared with competitive learning, Learning Together (LT) promoted the greatest effect, followed by Academic Controversy (AC), Student-Team-Achievement-Divisions (STAD), Teams-Games-Tournaments (TGT), Group Investigation (GI), Jigsaw, Teams-Assisted-Individualization (TAI), and finally Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (CIRC). When the impact of cooperative lessons was compared with individualistic learning, LT promotes the greatest effect, followed by AC, GI, TGT, TAI, STAD, Jigsaw, and CIRC. The consistency of the results and the diversity of the cooperative learning methods provide strong validation for its effectiveness.